By Ingrid Ricks
BerkleyJanuary 2013

Trade Paperback304 pages, $15.00, ISBN: 9780425274002
Subject: Religion / Family / Coming of Age

  1. Why did Ingrid want to escape her home life? And why was she so drawn to her dad, even though he continually let her down?
  2. How did the failed trip to Mississippi serve as a foreshadowing for the rest of the book?
  3. What role did the Mormon Church play in Ingrid’s life vs. the people who were in her life? Was it the Church doctrine or the people enforcing the doctrine that led to the problems Ingrid experienced?
  4. Sometimes the worst offenders are people who have felt powerless themselves. Do you think Earl would have been abusive if he hadn’t been so down and out?
  5. What kind of man was Jerry Ricks? What were his strengths and weaknesses, his flaws and contradictions?
  6. Though the strong bond between Ingrid and her dad is a central theme in Hippie Boy, there are hints that Jerry Ricks wanted a relationship with his other children and yearned for their approval and love. Why do you think he was unable to establish the same relationship with Ingrid’s siblings?
  7. Discuss Ingrid’s mother. How do you think her childhood shaped her decisions as an adult and her need to be guided by religion?
  8. Why do you think Ingrid’s mom stayed in the relationship with Earl even when she knew the marriage was having a devastating impact on her children? Have you ever felt trapped in a situation? Were you able to get out of it? If so, how?
  9. Did you feel sympathy for Ingrid’s dad? What about for her mom? Could you relate with her need to have someone else make the decisions for her?
  10. Discuss Ingrid’s relationship with her sister, Connie. What impact did Connie have on Ingrid’s life?
  11. Describe Connie. How did she cope with the situation at home? Does her strength come through early on in the story?
  12. Other than Connie, there is very little mention of Ingrid’s siblings throughout the book. Ingrid mentions in the story that she had very little interaction with her siblings even though they lived under the same roof. Why do you think this was? Discuss the relationship you had with your siblings growing up. What is your relationship like with your siblings now?
  13. Why do you think Ingrid, as a child, so readily identified with her dad and was willing to forgive his faults and shortcomings?
  14. Discuss Ingrid’s relationships with her mom. Why do you think Ingrid was less forgiving of her mom, even though she was the parent who stayed behind and took on the sole financial responsibility of raising Ingrid and her siblings? 15. What character traits -- both good and bad -- do you think that Ingrid inherited from her parents? And how do you think those traits shaped Ingrid's life?
  15. Do you think Ingrid had any inkling of the implications of her dad’s “creative financing” techniques?
  16. How did her dad’s arrest serve as a turning point for Ingrid?
  17. What would you have done had you been in the same situation as Ingrid?
  18. How did Ingrid change throughout the story?